* The purpose of our documentation is to provide a window into the creative process and the interactions within our circle. It keeps the memory of our work together alive and offers a touchstone to revisit later for further reflection by the facilitators, the parents and the children.


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Women are the primary resource of the planet. They give birth, we come from them. They are mothers, they are visionaries, they are the future. If we can figure out how to make women feel safe and honor women, it would be parallel or equal to honoring life itself."

- Eve Ensler

Day Five: Blessing Manifested

July 31, 2009

When I arrived at our campsite to set up the mighty tipi, I saw this on the ground and it gave me a smile! When I returned with the wagon to pick up the supplies, the Mighty Girls were already beginning to arrive to help.

I decided that our last day together should be flexible and free since it was a scorcher. Our thought for the day was: Being our authentic ourselves helps others to feel comfortable with who they are. The final gift came from Chronicle Books, "Living Out Loud" by Keri Smith, a mighty mama, author and artist who is an expert at being herself.

The girls spent some time looking through their books before we began our projects. Our first project was decorating Mighty K's cast. She wiped out on her bicycle last night and broke her hand. Yet she still came to the mighty tipi!

Next we made lanterns. This is one of my mighty boy's favorite crafts. I gave all the girls a tiny battery operated candle to put inside.

We snacked on delicious banana bread made by a super mighty mom. Later, since the girls felt that their journals were complete, we made tissue paper flowers.

We spotted a wee mighty girl in the distance staring wide eyed with wonder at the mighty tipi so we invited her in to join us.

I think we were all beginning to wilt from the heat so I decided to do the "I see you ceremony". I asked the girls to get their tags from our first day, but keep them well hidden. We formed a sacred circle. The girls had no idea what we were about to do. I asked the girls to address her secret mighty girl with _____, I see you. I asked that when their name was called to respond, "I am here". Then I asked them to tell her all the admirable qualities she observed during the week. I began the ceremony and it went like this...

Me: Mighty V, I see you.

MV: I am here.

Me: This week I saw in you... compassion, humor, and playfulness.

And then I gave her tag that I embellished last night so that it could be used as a bookmark. We went around the circle telling each other what we observed and admired during our secret mission. Giving and receiving. I found it deeply moving and had to fight back tears so the girls wouldn't think I as a complete dork.

After the closing ceremony the mighty intern, Jessica, gave everyone a bouquet of edible plants that were grown by her mother and all arranged in interesting bottles. There was echinacea, purple basil, mint, sunflower and rosemary.

Just when I thought we would all flip out from the heat...

Flippin' Pizza arrived just in time with FOUR pies for the girls!

The girls munched, shared some laughs, exchanged phone numbers before we took down the mighty tipi and said our goodbyes.

It's been a wondrous week. WONDROUS! And I'm going to miss these girls. I'm looking forward to Mighty Girl Art in 2010. And I'll keep you posted about the rumored mini workshops. Until then, I would like to thank my sponsors and my mighty friends for helping me provide the girls with more than I ever could on my own. I would like to thank the mighty moms for the yummy snacks, beautiful flowers, and entertaining mighty boy. I would like to thank my mighty husband for supporting my dream. I would like to thank my mighty boy for his patience and sharing his mama. I would like to thank my mighty intern for her mighty presence. And I would like to thank McCabe for believing in me!

And most of all...thank you, Mighty Girls, for shining so brightly and for blessing me with your presence!

Peace, Love, Free!


Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.

It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant,
gorgeous, handsome, talented and fabulous?

Actually, who are you not to be?

Your playing small does not serve the world.
There is nothing enlightened about shrinking
so that other people won't feel insecure around you.
We are all meant to shine, as children do.

We were born to make manifest the glory within us.
It is not just in some; it is in everyone.

And, as we let our own light shine, we consciously give
other people permission to do the same. - Marianne Williamson


Day Four: We Shine Infinitely

July 30, 2009

I am divinely timed and shining brightly
yes, I believe that there is a purpose just for me - Amy Steinberg

Once again the Mighty Girls arrived early to help with setting up camp. We chose a shady location to savor a bit of coolness before the sun shifted. They took turns hammering the stakes of the mighty tipi. My original vision was that I would have the camp set up prior to their arrival, but I am thrilled that they want to help. It's as if they understand that Mighty Girl Art belongs to them. They are indeed, Mighty Girls.

Today's topic was: managing worries and fears. Today's gift came from a talented writer and mama of uber twins, Shawn Fink. This mighty mama made the girls these sweet little flower power fairies. Shawn's message, "Go mighty girls, fly!"

The Mighty Girls were mighty delighted!

We went right to work in our journals, adding more layers before we began the Giving Tree exercise. The girls were instructed to paint a giving tree that would give them anything they felt they needed, like joy, strength etc.

Mighty V, whose sense of humor is as sharp as a tack, noted that in addition to the many lovely things her tree provides, it also gives her ticks.

When everyone was ready to let their journals rest, we moved on to the next exercise...worry boxes for which to empty our worries. This project is inspired by the worry dolls of Guatemala. It is said that worry dolls date back to Mayan traditions and according to the folklore, one gives their worries to the dolls so they can take the worries away. The worry box is a variation on the same theme.

The girls finished their projects faster than I had anticipated, so we decided that we should create some postcards to send anonymously to other girls.

Then in anticipation of our last day tomorrow, the girls took turns writing messages in each others journals.

Before we packed up, I instructed the girls to decorate the mysterious tags they have hidden at home from day one and upon them write the admirable qualities observed during their secret mission. They'll be presenting them tomorrow in an "I see you" ceremony.

Our favorite pizza joint, Flippin' Pizza, is throwing a pizza party tomorrow to honor the last day of Mighty Girl Art...Isn't that mighty AWESOME!!!


i need to be exactly where i am
i am divinely timed and shining brightly
yes i believe that there’s a purpose just for me
yes i believe that we are light
and we shine infinitely
- Amy Steinberg


Day Three: Hear the Music!

July 29, 2009

Last night I worried about the impending rain storms headed our way and actually woke up at 4:30 AM to do some creative thinking about what to do: offer a rain date, or move the camp indoors. I knew that I could not set up the tipi because to take it down in a storm would be insane and I would risk damaging art and supplies. I emailed the girls to say that we would have camp on the deck at my home and when the rain began we would move our gear inside. Everyone was pleased.

The girls went right to work on their journals before I even had a chance to begin the ceremonial bestowing of gifts! Today's thought / topic was "valuing ourselves" and today's gift came from the talented Tonia Davenport who made incredibly gorgeous pendants for the girls. Each pendant had a different message and was delicately wrapped in sky blue tissue paper. The girls picked from the hat unable to see the pendants and it was astonishing how each message truly captured their personalities. Also in the hat was a pile of, You Are Beautiful Stickers.

Mighty V picked, "I am compassion"...take a look at those eyes.
You see it too, right?
She is!

Mighty K received, "I am laughter" - yes - she is!
Mighty E received, "I am intuition" - yes - she is!
Mighty J received, "I am kindness" - yes - she is!
Mighty L, who is moving to a new town on Saturday, received, "I am courage" - and oh my - yes - she is!

I have chill bumps, people!

We then began working in our journals when it started to drizzle slightly so we moved everything inside.

The girls were wild over the winged cuties from ARTchix studio.

Mighty K created an incredible texture in her journal with blue and gold paint that is way more gorgeous than I am able to capture with the camera. All I can say is that it evokes the feeling of a weathered beach cottage and if you want to know how she did it, you'll have to ask her for yourself in the comments section.

A beloved mighty mom stopped in bearing big bowls of yummy buttery popcorn to fuel our creative fires. Then we began creating our talisman necklaces with charms from Creativity Inc.

The rains came as promised, so...we all ran outside and danced in it!


And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music - Nietzsche


Day Two: Yeah, You!

July 28, 2009

Today was another wonderful day at Mighty Girl Art. Early in the morning my mighty boy helped me carry the supplies outside and stocked the picnic basket with water. He even held the door while I hauled the mighty tipi into his big red wagon. One of the mighty mamas came to hang with Satch while I was chillin' with the Mighty Girls.

We began the day with gifts: Garden of Wellness cds by Lori Lite.

I can personally attest to the benefits of guided meditation because this amazing nurse used guided imagery with bio feedback to help me manage the stress of IVF while trying to conceive Satch. I still turn to butter at the sound of her voice.

However, I was trying to find someone who had child specific material and that is how I found Lori Lite. Lori sent her Garden of Wellness CDs as a gift to the girls.

Lori has been featured on CBS News, in USA Today, and Prevention Magazine. Her mission is to "empower children to be active participants in creating their own calm, peaceful, heart driven lives". She utilizes story telling, guided imagery and meditation as tools to help children manage anxiety, and stress while promoting self-esteem.

After the gifts were bestowed we went to work on our journals again, adding collage elements.

While our journals were drying in the sun, we ate our snacks. One of the mighty moms brought over some delicious sliced watermelon. We painted a few rocks and then the Mighty Girls painted themselves!

I asked the girls if they liked the name of the camp and the reply was an immediate exuberant, YESSSS! I asked them what mighty means to them and they replied, "strong, confident, powerful". So, I thought I would give the girls the text prompt, "I feel mighty when I_____", and let them build a page around that prompt. Soon after, messages began to appear on the drop cloth.

The girls have taken ownership of the camp and this thrills me to my core. It's officially THEIR camp! They arrived early to help us set up, take down the tipi and haul the wagon full of supplies back to my nest.

And there was this new message on the drop cloth...

To be continued...


You're beautiful like a flower
More valuable than a diamond
You are powerful like a fire
You can heal the world with your mind
There is nothing in the world that you cannot do
When you believe in you, who are beautiful
yeah, you, who are brilliant
yeah, you, who are powerful
yeah, you, who are resilient
- India Arie


Day One: Sunlight & Singing

July 27, 2009

Sunlight & singing welcome your coming...

What an exciting start! Here's a glimpse at day one in the Mighty Tipi:

After the introductions, we began our opening ceremony - a bestowing of gifts! Rather than the traditional art retreat goodie bag, I decided to present the girls with a special gift each morning that was made by a Mighty Woman. We begin our first day together with a gift created by the talented Pixie Campbell, whom I have the honor to call friend. Pixie is a Native American Indian Medicine Woman, proud mama, and gifted artist. She is strong, yet gentle - playful, yet centered. She made the girls medicine bags of sacred plants to be placed under their pillows at night.

Pixie's message to the Mighty Girls:

Made with LOVE for the creative process, LOVE for the feminine spirit and for those who carry the medicine that heals the world.
  • Red: for maidens and sacredness
  • Mugwort: health, hope, protection, dreams
  • Comfrey: regeneration, wound healing
  • Lavende: calms, soothes, balances
  • Juniper berries: purifies for safe, sacred space

After the gifts were presented, we began the ceremonial "I See You" exercise. I asked the Mighty Girls to write their names on a manila shipping tag. The tags were placed in my hat and shuffled. I asked the girls to pick a tag from the hat and hide it from view. I then asked the girls to secretly observe their chosen Mighty Girl all week and get to know her without being obvious, then make a mental list of all the qualities that she admires. The tag is to be kept at home hidden and the mission will be revealed at the closing ceremony.

Hmmmm a mystery....what fun! You will have to follow along with the Mighty Girls to find out what happens.

In the meantime...let the art making begin!!!!

We began prepping our art journals. The art journal is the foundation for our week long adventure. If you are unfamiliar with art journals, just google it and you'll find loads of information, inspiration and video tutorials. The Mighty Girls lightly sanded some board books before giving them a coat of gesso...

and topping them with Liquitex acrylic paints and water soluble oil pastels from Dick Blick.

While the art journals dried in the sun...we ate our yummy snacks and I introduced the topic for the day: Fitting in vs. belonging.

This is a challenge we have all faced as young girls, yes? I clearly remember feeling like I didn't fit in. There seemed to be distinct groups of kids...the popular, the braniacs, the jocks, the bullies and the nerds. Everyone's worst fear was being a nerd. I didn't feel like there was a place for me. Brené so eloquently wrote about this on her blog, Ordinary Courage. I too clearly remember looking into our enormous, noisy cafeteria hoping to see someone I knew whom I could sit with. Now as an adult, and especially since I became a mom, I think it would take a lot to shake my sense of self, my personal power. Yet, there have been times where I've felt a pang of the adolescent inside occasionally at gatherings wherein a small group of adult friends coagulate, to the exclusion of everyone else and talk and laugh about things of which no one else is privy. When we experience this, we often describe it as, "Oh, it was so high school" and we all know what that means. How can we make it better for this generation of girls? What can we do to help build a foundation of confidence, courage, resilience?

There wasn't much dialog from the girls about the topic so I decided to let it simmer and had the girls pair up with handfuls of body markers from Creativity Inc. to create their own tattoos...

Once sated and inked, we began creating our last project for the morning...patterned papers that will be used in the days ahead.

My Mighty boy stopped by and painted with us.

And I'm not sure which Mighty Girl left this message on the drop cloth, but I love you too...

There will be more fun tomorrow...I promise!


"Fitting in is becoming who you think you need to be in order to be accepted. Belonging is being your authentic self and knowing that no matter what happens, you belong to you."
- Brené Brown